In anticipation that President Donald Trump will belatedly present at 2:00pm Friday, May 11, his plans to address the soaring cost of prescription drugs, the Affordable Prescription Drug Task Force released a list of key provisions that any effective plan should include. With drug prices soaring at a rate 10 times that of inflation and pharmaceutical corporations price gouging patients, there is a true drug pricing crisis in the United States. Even in the face of the opioid epidemic, a devastating national public health emergency, the price of naloxone, a lifesaving overdose reversal drug, has been spiked by almost 600%. An effective drug is 100% ineffective when it is unaffordable.
If President Trump is sincere in his declaration that "the cost of medicine in this country is outrageous," he must lay out a national action plan to bring prices down. Any meaningful proposal must at least include the following:
Negotiate prescription drug prices under Medicare to harness the purchasing power of the federal government, as the President has previously proposed;
Shed light on the pharmaceutical corporation's drug pricing system through genuine transparency to reveal the true cost of drug production, as the President has previously proposed;
End patent system abuse by eliminating tactics that thwart competition like pay-for-delay deals, patent evergreening, and Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) abuse;
Allow safe importation of prescription drugs from other countries, as the President has previously proposed; and
Ensure access to affordable drugs by crafting fair trade agreements.
During the initial sixteen months of his Administration, the President has spoken about this serious problem but has taken no real action to address it. Friday afternoon, following the President's remarks, these Task Force members are available to evaluate his remarks and the effectiveness of any resulting action that may or may not occur: Task Force chairs Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as well as Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Ro Khanna (D-CA).